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Trump Failed the Americans of Puerto Rico (Bloomberg)
May 29, 2018
From the article:
The death toll from Hurricane Maria appears to have been 4,645, despite the official count of 64. That’s 4,645 citizens of the U.S. It’s a disgrace.
To be sure, the Trump administration isn’t entirely responsible for this disaster. It’s going to be difficult, perhaps impossible, to assess how much of it had to do with the federal government’s indifference and ineffectiveness; how much was the fault of current Puerto Rican government officials; and how much was the effects of long-term Puerto Rican poverty and structural conditions. And, in any case, assistance and recovery for the Caribbean island was going to be difficult, and the storm would have been devastating under the best of circumstances.
Experts agree. Writing at the Monkey Cage back in December, Jeremy Konyndyk pointed out both the inherent difficulties of the situation and the limited effectiveness of business as usual, and concluded:
"With FEMA understandably overmatched by this fall’s series of megastorms and faced with a uniquely challenging context in Puerto Rico, the Trump administration could have gotten creative: deploying its own international responders at scale, or seeking help from international partners. Inexplicably, it did neither. And the response suffered as a result."